Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.
Peter’s response to Jesus’s command (not an intelligent suggestion for possible success) is a great example of what we do all the time. The first half of his response was just a few words: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing….” Those words sound like the beginning of an argument, of course, but they also reflect Peter’s first attempts at processing what he just heard.
Think about it. Peter was the fishing expert, and knew what were the best times and places to fish. Add to that the frustration of having fished all night with no results. What would Jesus know? He was a carpenter, after all. And didn’t He know that they’d been toiling to no avail for hours? Rephrased, didn’t Jesus know that Peter was the expert here, and that past failures were indicative of little chance of future success?
Of course Jesus knew all that; He just didn’t let that stop Him from speaking the command. It was Peter who had to work things through intellectually and emotionally. We don’t know how long that pause was before he got to saying “nevertheless,” but that’s when faith broke through.
How about us? Does our expertise or experience get in the way of hearing God’s word, or even hearing it and then rationalizing it away? (Check out Exodus 3 and 4 to review Moses’ version of this struggle.) We all have “reasons” why we should or shouldn’t do something He’s given us to do. Do these sound familiar?
“But I know so-and-so, and they….”
“I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.”
“I know what would happen if I did that.”
Having a reaction to what the Lord is telling us isn’t the issue. The challenge is how quickly we get past the reaction phase to “Nevertheless.” Peter paused and had a moment of rationalization. But he quickly moved past that to obedience. How about us—how quickly do we get to “Nevertheless”?